April 22, 2004 – Beef vs. Fish

Lunch Special at Cocochee Hotel

Everything screwy that could happen to a person’s schedule happened to mine today. I managed to survive, having to stay about 20 minutes after classes ended to finish all of my paperwork.

The one redeeming feature of my day was an excellent voice class. Inspired by a recent stupid argument with Phoala (I never have anything but stupid arguments with Phoala), I got the students to do a bunch of quick debates between trivial topics. First I gave the students a topic (baseball vs. soccer for example) then found out which side they supported. I then divided the students into teams based on their choice, adjusting the teams to make sure the numbers were fairly even.

The best debate of the day was “beef vs. fish”. Pro beef arguments included:

  • Beef is yummy. If beef was yucky we wouldn’t eat it so much. Nobody likes to eat yucky foods.
  • Everybody likes a big steak!
  • Cows also make milk, and that’s great!

The fish side countered with:

  • There are many types of fish, so fish has more variety.
  • Beef doesn’t have a long history in Japan. It’s only popular because of a conspiracy from America (seriously)

NOVA does not allow us to discuss any potentially controversial topics (religion, politics, etc), and even if we were allowed, I assume many of the students would refrain from taking strong stands one way or the other in order to preserve the harmony of the classroom. Having quick debates about topics of little consequence was a great opportunity for the students to practice stating their opinions in English without worry. It was also a lot of fun for me, which is a big help in getting through a busy workday with most of my sanity intact.

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